State House view from the southThis week at the

General Assembly

 

STATE HOUSE — Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week. For more information on any of these items visit http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease

 

 

§  House OKs Fogarty bill that would felonize third domestic violence charge
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2024-H 7744) introduced by Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown) that would punish a perpetrator’s third domestic violence violation as a felony. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2024-S 2932) has been introduced by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).
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§  House OKs bill for mixed-use, multifamily housing in local zoning ordinances
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2024-H 7981Aaa) introduced by Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) that aims to increase the housing supply by requiring municipalities to allow for duplexes, mixed-use development and multifamily housing in certain areas of each municipality. The bill is part of a 15-bill package of legislation regarding housing issues that Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi announced in March. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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§  Senate OKs bill that would make it illegal to charge seniors for paper invoices
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2278A) introduced by Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain that would make it illegal to charge fees to senior citizens for paper invoices. The violation of this provision would be a deceptive trade practice subject to a $500 fine. The measure now moves to the House, where Rep. Brandon T. Voas (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) has introduced similar legislation (2024-H 7940).
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§  Senate passes Felag bill to allow breweries to sell 1/6th kegs to public

The Senate approved legislation (2024-S 2695) sponsored by Sen. Walter S. Felag (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) that would allow for the holder of a manufacturer’s license to sell one one-sixth barrel keg of malt beverage produced on the premises per day to consumers. The bill now heads to the House, where Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) introduced the legislation (2024-H 7842).

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§  House passes Marszalkowski bill that exempts court fees for crime victims

The House of Representatives passed legislation (2024-H 7800) sponsored by Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) that would exempt crime victims seeking restitution from having to pay certain court fees. The bill would waive the payment of filing fees and service of process costs when the victim of a crime is still owed restitution at the expiration of a criminal case. The legislation now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) has introduced the bill (2024-S 2115A).

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§  Senate OKs ballot measure for ‘equitable, adequate and meaningful’ education
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2147) sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) to place a question on the next statewide ballot asking voters to amend the state constitution with a legally enforceable guarantee of “an equitable, adequate and meaningful education to each child.” The legislation now goes to the House, where Rep. Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist. 62, Pawtucket) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024-H 7396).
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§  House approves Cortvriend bill to preserve public rights of way
The House approved legislation (2024-H 7645A) sponsored by Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) to enable cities and towns to affordably preserve public access paths and trails through “qualified abandonment,” a designation that allows municipalities to abandon roads or paths they no longer wish to maintain, but with easements that maintain the public’s access rights. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024-S 2641).
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§  Senate approves Gallo bills for universal pre-K, limits on K-2 class size
The Senate approved two bills sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) to set Rhode Island on a path to offering universal free prekindergarten to 3- and 4-year-olds and expanding child care access for younger children (2024-S 2843), and setting a 20-student limit for kindergarten through Grade 2 classrooms in public schools (2024-S 2148). The bills now go to the House, where Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) is sponsoring the pre-K bill (2024-H 7497).
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§  Senate OKs DiMario Renewable Ready bill

The Senate passed a bill (2024-S 2293) sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) to ensure renewable energy projects, such as solar farms, are built without increasing electric rates or clearing Rhode Island’s forests. The bill now heads to the House, where Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7616). Click here to see news release.

 

§  House approves Ackerman consumer protection bill for solar industry

The House approved legislation (2024-H 7603A) sponsored by Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) to protect consumers and ensure a healthy solar industry by regulating businesses selling home solar systems. The bill now moves to the Senate, which has already passed companion legislation (2024-S 2801Aaa) introduced by Sen. Jacob Bissaillon (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

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The House is approving a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. The resolution passed in a 216-207 vote. Republicans are going after Garland for refusing to turn over recordings of President Biden's interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden's handling of classified documents. GOP lawmakers say the audio of the interview is important to determine whether Hur's decision not to bring charges against Biden was warranted.        Southern Florida is under a Flash Flood Emergency as rain continues to pummel the state. Heavy rain and "life-threatening flooding" is hitting the Miami area and other parts, leaving flooded streets and stranded drivers. Over 260 flights at Miami International Airport and more than 190 flights at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport have been cancelled.        The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates unchanged and predicts it will cut borrowing costs just once before the end of the year. Fed chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today inflation has eased substantially but is still too high. He said the central bank is committed to bringing inflation down to its two-percent goal.        South Carolina Senator Tim Scott may be falling out of favor with former President Trump. The New York Post reports Scott is slipping in the race to be Trump's running mate and is "extremely unlikely" to be chosen for the role, according to one insider. Scott is among several candidates reportedly being vetted by the Trump campaign, including Senators Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance, as well as Representatives Byron Donalds and Elise Stefanik.        Boeing is still trying to deal with the fallout of incidents involving its planes this year. The airplane manufacture reported Tuesday that it received just four orders for new planes last month. It didn't receive any orders for its 737 Max plane.        Pixar's "Inside Out" sequel is looking to make a big debut at the box office. "Inside Out 2" is projected to bring in between 80-and-90-million dollars over Father's Day weekend. It could surpass the 82-point-five-million dollars earned by "Dune: Part Two" for the biggest opening weekend of the year so far.